Maine DOE Child Nutrition announces the annual order opening date for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Program for School Administrative Units (SAU) is March 7, 2017. The SAU must order their USDA food products beginning on March 7, 2017 to March 20, 2017. The deadline date has no flexibility. This is the first year the annual order has been moved to March. This federally required change allows the SAU to order the items they want and the amount they want, up to their entitlement level.
Once the SAU orders, Maine DOE Child Nutrition will place the order with USDA based on local orders. USDA will ship product to Maine’s contracted warehouse for distribution to the local SAU. It is imperative the SAU order their product for next school year by the deadline date. This will be the only time period the SAU can order product for the annual order. There will be opportunities to pick up some limited items monthly, but 95% of the product will be ordered for the specific SAU. The new March annual order has been promoted to SAU food service program staff at meetings, weekly updates and training over the last year. This is a very tight schedule for ordering on the local and state level. Maine must have all orders into USDA in March. Different products have different USDA deadline dates, but all are in March. Products are ordered in the Maine DOE NEO system as in prior years, but in March not August. The deadline date to order is close of business on March 20, 2017.
Additionally, there will be changes to the USDA fresh product offering for School Year 2018.